The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

May 18, 2013

Looking Back: A sad ending for adorable, sweet Taffy-toes

The Daily Star

---- — Another unwanted drop-off? Yes and so I must write this. Not only to express my utter disgust for this action but to warn — yes, warn — all pet lovers.

We named this lovely, affectionate kitty Taffy-toes. His coloring was light orange with tiger stripe patches on white long fluffy soft fur. (Reminded me of the salt-water taffy we used to love down at the seashore.) And, yes his front feet had large extra toes so handy at scooping and attacking the catnip mouse. Why not give him a name that fits every adorable inch of him?

Why did we have an unwanted cat? Just call us overly warm-hearted toward any of God’s creatures. Life is life and should be respected.

To start out with: One evening we noticed a new visitor enjoying some of the cat crunches on the back porch. He was nice looking, clean and well groomed. Perhaps just a neighbor cat mooching a bit but when we opened the back door to whisper a few welcoming words — away he flew to hide under our back storage shed.

Each day he was out woofing down more of the food we put down for him, and away he would scoot to hide. Until one day as my hubby was in the backyard he saw the little fluffy mite peeking out. So each day the friendship grew until in he came to say hello.

Up he pounced on my comforter as I was waking from my nap. The sweet little tike had been into the weeds and had burdocks stuck all over.

He was asking for help and he got two weeks of the most likely happiest days of his little life. Lots of TLC, good food, toys and a clean kitty-cat box each day.

We were sure Taffy was someone’s sweetheart who was lost. He was so well-behaved, and he just stole our hearts. We asked and asked all we met in the village, “Is someone missing an adorable long-haired cat? All we asked to no avail.

Time came to encourage Taffy onto my lap. As I picked him up all I could feel was skin and bones. After two weeks of stuffing himself he was still all skin and bones. Something was wrong.

His appetite was waning and then we noticed a limp. One of his extra toes had an ingrown toenail, swollen and nasty looking. This had to be addressed and so we took him to our local veterinarian.

It was a Sunday but they had openings for emergencies so we thought that Taffy could be helped along with the needed vaccinations plus neutering. (Two birds, one stone.) All was on go.

Yes, all seemed to come together when the dreaded phone call came: Taffy’s blood work showed that he had Feline IV. (That’s called “AIDS” in humans) So we had to do the humane thing. How sad. Our hearts ached for him. He was so special and gave us such loyalty and comfort.

I know. I still get weepy as I write this but I must. Did you know that Feline IV can be passed on to other animals? Our little village has many loveable pets. Many walk by here each day taking their owners for a stroll. It would be criminal not to warn all about the possibility of spreading this disease.

We hung a bright red framed poster in our local bank: “Warning…Infectious Feline IV in our area. Vet said: Keep pets inside and away from other animals. Feline Aids is in our area.”

Elaine W. Kniskern is a 80-year-old resident of Schenevus and a grandmother of five. She can reached at ‘Senior Scene’ columns can be found at